Together with the Markham Vale Heritage Group, we have successfully bid for an award from Viridor Credits Environmental Company via the Landfill Communities Fund to further develop the ‘Walking Together’ memorial at Markham Vale – the former colliery site reclaimed by us and Henry Boot Developments.
It means a further 14 figures can now be added to the 61 already in place to remember the men who died in 3 major disasters at the pit in 1937, 1938, and 1973.
On 21 January 1937 an underground explosion claimed the lives of 9 men. A further 79 miners lost their lives and 40 were seriously injured in a second explosion in 1938. And 18 miners died and a further 11 others suffered serious injury in the 3rd disaster at the colliery when the mechanical brake on a lift carrying them to the coalface failed on 30 July 1973.
Designed by Cheshire-based artist Stephen Broadbent, the trail will eventually feature 106 figures stretching between the village of Duckmanton in Chesterfield and the former pithead which symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again.
Each figure carries a tag with the name of one of the miners, along with their age and job role.
Our Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Councillor Tony King said:
“This is a welcome boost for the project and we hope to put the extra figures in place by the end of the year.
“As Markham Vale continues to grow delivering much-needed jobs for the area, it’s important we don’t forget our local heritage and the brave men who lost their lives in the three disasters at the colliery that once stood there.
“It’s been an incredibly moving to see this project unfold and, as it nears completion, I’d like to thank all the staff and volunteers for the role they have played in helping to research the lives of each of the 106 men and reach out to their friends and relatives to make the project a success.”
Gareth Williams, Operations Manager at Viridor Credits, said:
“This is an important project to mark the lives of the men that tragically died in 3 separate disasters at the colliery.
“Mining is such a huge part of the DNA of the area, and Viridor Credits is pleased to support this project for those men and their families.”
The Walking Together project is supported by Markham Vale Heritage Group and Beam arts organisation which helps to guide the project and research into the miners and their families.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a figure can contact Head of Markham Vale, Peter Storey by emailing: Peter.Storey@derbyshire.gov.uk or by calling 01629 535417 for more information.